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Peony Pointers

Martha Stewart Living, June 2012

Kathleen Gagan, owner of mail-order nursery and flower farm Peony's Envy, travels the globe to seek out unusual peony styles and colors. "They are an old-fashioned plant for a modern garden," she says. "They are prolific bloomers, deer resistant, and very easy to grow without chemicals." Here, Gagan shares what she's learned about growing peonies.

No-Fuss Plants

Once established in full, bright sun, peonies thrive on neglect and can live for more than 100 years.

Easy to Propagate

By dividing the roots in fall, when the plants are dormant, you can expand your collection and share with friends.

Blooms That Last

If you cut herbaceous peonies while they are still in bud form, they'll last for up to six weeks in the refrigerator. Take them out of the refrigerator and they will open at room temperature.

Cool Factor

Peonies are hardy in Zones 3 to 8. They require winter's chill to flower, so it's better not to give them extra protection in winter. Plant shallowly, and avoid mulch.